Accused Christchurch gunman seeks to move trial out of Christchurch

Author
Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Aug 2019, 1:56PM
The accused's case was heard in court today. (Photo / File)
The accused's case was heard in court today. (Photo / File)

Accused Christchurch gunman seeks to move trial out of Christchurch

Author
Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Aug 2019, 1:56PM

The alleged Christchurch mosque shooter is trying to get his murder and terror trial moved out of Christchurch.

A court heard today - five months to the day of the shootings - that the 28-year-old Australian national's lawyers have applied to have the High Court trial venue changed.

Justice Cameron Mander said the matter can be argued on October 3.

The alleged shooter faces 51 charges of murder and 40 charges of attempted murder. He has also pleaded not guilty to a charge laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

The trial - which could take six to 12 weeks - has been scheduled to begin on May 4 next year.

However, the Crown indicated at a pre-trial callover hearing today that they are looking at reviewing the trial date.

The Canterbury Muslim community has expressed concern that the trial would coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Christchurch Crown Solicitor Mark Zarifeh said they are in discussions with court officials about potentially delaying the trial by three to four weeks "at the most".

The accused was excused from attending today's court hearing, which largely traversed pre-trial legal matters which were suppressed by Justice Mander.

There were a small number of victims and family members in the public gallery, along with victim advisors, Victim Support workers, and senior police officers.

Many other survivors and victims are still abroad on a Hajj pilgrimage bankrolled by the Saudi king.

At the outset of this morning's hearing, Justice Mander explained that today's legal discussions would be suppressed.

The alleged killer was remanded in custody to October 3 at 10am for another pre-trial callover and for the legal argument to change the trial venue.

 

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